An overshadowed truth

As I started watching 'An Inconvenient Truth', I was hopeful, anticipating evidence that might convince the skeptics (myself included) that we are, in fact, facing a crisis and that it is time for a lifestyle change for most of the developed world. And to some degree, my expectations were met. The facts were startling, and when presented in a coherent, orderly way, gave a disturbingly clear picture of the direction our lifestyles are taking this world. The U.S. alone is responsible for %30 of the world's CO2 emissions. But, most importantly, this can change! All we have to do is take action. So, for this reason, go, see the movie. And when it's finished, check out the website, particularly this part, which gives practical ways to change your habits and household to make a difference (make sure to see all the pages of this section).

Sadly, as my hopes were being met, my fears were also. The ugly beast of partisan finger-pointing reared its all too prevalent head as Gore decided to use this documentary as a chance to get back some of his own after the farcical Florida debacle in the 2000 election. An all-too-lengthy non sequitur delving into Gore's post-election pity party assured that any right-wingers in the audience would recall that they don't like Al Gore, making the message of his movie a moot point. As if that didn't cinch the deal, the makers of the movie decided to use political weights to tug at the partisan heart-strings of America. A bit of Bush-bashing as well as the ever-abused use of Hurricane Katrina's political leverage, and you have a successfully politicized movie. Add in a pinch of Invincible American Syndrome (and I quote: "Something new for America (speaking of Katrina in disbelief). But how in God's name could that happen here?"), and the package is complete.

As a result, instead of convincing those who are on the fence, or cynical, or skeptical, the movie ends up turning this pertinent topic into a partisan playing card. Instead of inciting action and urgency, it merely gives the Democrats a smug pat on the back.

So, I'm waiting for another movie: one that calls all individuals, regardless of political alignment, to stop blaming their government for the waste they are creating and the damage they are causing, and to start taking serious and immediate action in their own lives.


AJ said...

I like your comment about waiting for a film that doesn't blame the government. Al Gore is a political animal and, as such, is not qualified to produce an unbiased report.

We expect global warming to occur at some point going forward just as it has occurred in the past. How much is happening naturally and how much are we contributing?

This really is akin to rocket science given the complexity of the environment. We need to be careful of the solutions we adopt. Some are no-brainers such as lowering the thermostat in winter or raising it in summer (I'm a long time believer) or insulating your home. Others are questionable.

For instance, we are told to use fluorescents to cut down on energy use and then we're told that they are so dangerous to the environment that they must be disposed of as a hazardous waste. Reminds me of the MTBE's we were forced to pay for in our gasoline only to find that it was contaminating our ground water. At least we got cleaner air!

All this is to say that real solutions are hard to come by and most involve compromises. But we get there by dialog and at least Al Gore has upped the ante on that score. I might have to see the movie! -AJ

Anonymous said...

can you take the facts and statistics for what they are and leave the politics behind? I think we need to do just that, because if we don't (and we don't encourage others to) we really will get no where.

If it's a problem, why don't WE become the ones who prevent politics to creep in to our motivation of change. These environmental issues move beyond the bounds of political parties...

but I'm just a liberal environmentalist...hehe


betsy said...

Yay, Lyn! I totally agree. It's up to us to start the change...leave the bickering to politicians, and let's take the initiative. The hardest part, like dad said, is learning what the real solutions are. But I think we can all agree that most of the ideas on the website make sense (and are really very easy!). We just need to stop making excuses and DO them.

Anonymous said...

A very timely discussion, indeed, for our fearless pastor, Steve, is attempting to review stewardship of the earth on Sunday...stay tuned for a hot debate in church :)

Bets, I wish you could be there to help break out the recycle bins with me!

Miss you much.

AntTee said...

I'll bet the folks in North Dakota are looking forward to global warming...he,he.